Loughborough University
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Transforming development? : The millennium challenge account and US-Nicaraguan relations

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posted on 2014-02-06, 14:41 authored by Tom Mais
This thesis explores a relatively new and arguably innovative United States (US) international development initiative called the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), which was launched by President Bush in 2004 as his flagship development programme for combating global poverty. Inciting transformational change, both in the delivery of aid and within the recipient countries themselves, lies at the heart of the MCA, which is housed in a new development entity named the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). In-depth semistructured interviews were utilised to facilitate the accumulation of rich and varied data, through which the rhetoric and discourses surrounding the MCA could be' challenged, contested and debated at a variety oflevels. This study critically engages with the MCA to reveal its core motivations and ideological underpinnings, through which we can better understand its origins and potential to deliver sustainable development in the South. In order to do this, specific attention is given to Nicaragua's involvement in the initiative; a country which has played host to a plethora of US foreign policy activities, actions and interventions over the years. An exhaustive exploration of Nicaragua's experience of the MCA is subsequently utilised as a platform for engaging with the core debates and issues surrounding the MCA and development discourse more broadly. In particular, the study's findings critically question the neoliberal model of development being promoted through the MCA and challenge the programme's ability to address the complexities of impoverishment. Part and parcel of this process involves examining the seemingly inseparable marriage between 'democracy' and market liberalisation in development, through which it is argued in this thesis that transnationalliberalism has been extended as the hegemonic ideology of this epoch and a polyarchic system of rule promoted across much of the South.



  • Social Sciences


  • Geography and Environment


© Tom Mais

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en